German car giant Volkswagen on Monday announced a fresh €15 billion ($17.5 billion) splurge on China’s vast electric vehicle (EV) potential.
Global car makers are pegging hopes on an increasingly electric future with China at the forefront as a customer base and manufacturing hub.
Beijing has targeted a 25 per cent adoption of energy-saving vehicles by 2025.
Volkswagon’s commitment – made with its three Chinese joint ventures – sees the firm double down on EV car manufacturing and the linked infrastructure between this year and 2024 and takes its total investment in the sector to nearly €40 billion.
China accounts for around 40 per cent of the Wolfsburg-based automaker’s sales and has become the world’s largest car market in recent years.
The group’s stable of 12 brands includes names such as Porsche and Audi.
Fifteen “models across the group’s brands will be produced locally in China” by 2025 Volkswagen said in a statement and “35 per cent of its product portfolio in the country will be electrified models”.
Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed that the country would go carbon neutral by 2060, pledging to reach peak emissions in 2030.
Production at two new dedicated “MEB” facilities in China – a battery-powered platform forming the basis for a whole range of vehicles – will begin next month.
Locally-produced new energy vehicles in China will be equipped with batteries from Chinese supplier CATL from this year.
But questions hang over the viability of expensive EVs in a vast country which will require huge investment in charging points to turn buyers from gas cars.